Question about music apps for a new iPad user…

I got this question from a student; I’m going to reply to it here for folks looking for apps for their phones/software for laptops to augment distance learning experiences. I’ll also include apps that are not solely iOS apps.

“I have now gone full Apple – iPad and iPhone. What apps beyond Onsong do you recommend? I can’t remember the name of the music theory app…”


Skype, Hangouts, Zoom, Doozzoo, Facetime – for lessons – check with your teacher for their preferred platform. I tend to run multiple on my device in case one goes down, we can switch platforms quickly.

Google Drive – to upload video assignments to a student’s Drive folder and access the ensemble sheet music and a general Sheet Music library.

Tenuto (Apple only) – online exercises in theory and ear training

PDF Expert – annotate and view PDF files

OnSong – great for gigging, chord chords, PDF files, lyrics

Kindle – some music textbooks are available on this

Scribd – also another resource for textbooks

iReal Pro – useful for learning improvisation and soloing with scales

PlayScore2 (Apple only, I believe) – if you don’t know what a piece of music sounds like, take a good picture of it with this piece of software and it will play a MIDI rendered version of the piece. Great for folks who are learning how to read music or for parents who want to check that their child is practicing correctly.

Music Scanner – exactly like PlayScore, but I believe this could be the more accurate app of the two, at least on my devices.

YouTube – you can play along to songs, but slow them down with the playback controls to match your skill level

TimeGuru – great, verastile, powerful metronome. You can save presets, do mixed meters, have it randomly remove beats from a pattern.

iTablaPro Lite – awesome for generating drones for string players and fretless bass players to practice pieces and scales too. Yes, drones. It’s a great way to dial in one’s hearing and intonation.

The Piano – basically, it is what it says. A piano. I use this during string lessons to also test intonation

Songsterr – this is pay to play, but it has interactive, play along tabs for guitarists and bassists. I’m not a fan of tabs or of Songsterr, but if I have to use something other than Musescore, I’d probably look here first.

Musescore – in app form this is pay to play, but it has lots of string and band scores. You can even find my profile page on there with my scores. Search ladybassmusic, or my Doctor Who medley titled “Geronimo”.

Musicnotes – this is also pay to play, but the sheet music titles are accurate and the Musicnotes player allows folks to speed up and slow down the music for play along practice times (without pitch changes or artifacts in the playback), plus you can store all your sheet music as a library.

ProMetronome – free metronome, but I like the fact there’s a tap tempo function

Kyser – even a capo company has an app. Change your tunings, chord fingerings/chord dictionary, tune your guitar (and it’s actually a decent tuner if you only get it for one reason)

Korg and Moog are also both offering free synths for your phones for a limted time. Check out the Moog Model D and the Korg iKaossilator

For your laptop / desk top

Audacity – free audio recording suite you can use at home, but I often have students use it as a practice trainer (I’ll link the blog in the videos below)

Musescore – free on a laptop – music notation software and TONS of free music offered by the composers on the site, social media style.

IMSLP – the free online sheet music library of public domain works – great for sight reading practice at various skill levels. – The website that is Tenuto, before the smartphone app existed.

Functional Ear Trainer – This is a great ear trainer Anthony Wellington told me about…but it is HARD.

That’s all off the top of my head. Feel free to add any apps you want to share in the comments. I’d love to see what ones you think should be on this list.

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